Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services.
Launching Amazon Web Services is rare, but it has enormous consequences.
It happened this week when Amazon dropped Parler, a social network that caught on with conservatives after Twitter banned President Donald Trump and included content that encouraged violence. Parler filed a lawsuit against Amazon in federal district court to prevent Amazon from suspending Parler’s account, and Amazon pushed back, asking the court to deny Parler’s motion.
The incident shows a kind of power that Amazon wields almost uniquely because so many companies rely on it to provide computers and data storage. According to estimates by technology research firm Gartner, Amazon controlled 45% of cloud infrastructure in 2019, more than any other company. The app survived without being listed in the Apple and Google app stores. However, by sending from the Amazon cloud, Parler is not represented on the Internet for days.
Parler’s engineering team had developed software based on it Computing resources from Amazon Web Services, and the company had spoken to Amazon about the introduction of a proprietary AWS database and artificial intelligence services, the company said in a district court on Wednesday.
It would take some time to figure out how to perform similar functions on Parler’s own servers or a cloud other than AWS. And in the case of Parler, time is of the essence as the service gained attention and new users after the Trump ban on Twitter.
Parler’s engineers could learn to use other computing infrastructures, or the company could hire developers who already have this knowledge. However, since no cloud provider is as popular as Amazon, experts in the Oracle cloud, for example, are not as easy to find as those who know how to build on AWS.
The speed with which Amazon acted shouldn’t come as a shock. Companies have been posting details of their dealings with Amazon for years warning of such sudden crashes.
In 2010, the DNA sequencing company launched Complete Genomics said “Any interruption of services by Amazon Web Services, which we rely on to provide our customers with finished genomic data, would mean that our customers would not receive their data on time.”
Gambling company Zynga warned that its AWS foundation could quickly disappear when it filed for prospectus for its IPO in 2011. At the time, AWS was hosting half of the traffic for Zynga’s games like FarmVille and Words with Friends. the company said.
“AWS may terminate the agreement without giving reasons with 180 days ‘notice in writing and terminate the agreement with 30 days’ notice in writing for good cause, including all material failures or violations of the agreement by us that we do not within the 30th – Time of day, “said Zynga.
AWS can even be terminated or paused his consent in certain circumstances immediately with a customer such as 2010 at Wikileaks, indicating violations of the AWS Terms of Service.
Parler began using AWS in 2018, long after the Wikileaks incident and the first company disclosures about the possibility of cloud disruptions.
When AWS announced to Parler that it was planning to block Parler’s AWS account, Parler repeatedly violated the rules, including by not owning or controlling the rights to its content.
Over the course of several weeks, AWS Parler drew attention to cases of user content that led to violence, Amazon said in a lawsuit. More content emerged after protesters stormed the Washington Capitol on Jan. 6, disrupting Congressional confirmation of the electoral college’s results in the 2020 presidential election. AWS announced that Parler had not done enough to quickly remove this type of information from its social network.
Parler could have protected himself more. Large AWS customers can sign up for broader agreements that give more customers time to comply when they break the rules.
Gartner analyst Lydia Leong identified this difference in a blog entry: “Thirty days is a common time frame specified as the curing period in contracts (and the curing period in the AWS Standard Corporate Agreement), but cloud vendor click-through agreements (such as the AWS Customer Agreement) typically do not have a curing period Period of time during which, at the supplier’s discretion, immediate action can be taken, “she wrote.
Other cloud providers have their own set of conditions that their customers must follow. AWS now has millions of customers and holds more of the cloud infrastructure market than any other provider. As a result, if they don’t behave according to Amazon’s standards, many companies could be exposed to the type of treatment Parler has received, rare as it is.
Parler recognized the drawbacks of being committed to a cloud provider, but ultimately the flexibility offered by the clouds was too attractive to ignore. “Personally, I am very much against the cloud and against centralization, even though AWS has its place for high-volume traffic,” wrote Alexander Blair, Parler’s chief technology officer, in An entry on the service.
Parler and Amazon did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
CLOCK: Apple pulls Parler out of the App Store while cracking down on violent posts